SANFORD — A significant part of wrestling is embracing the daily grind, with the belief that rewards will come.

At Sanford High’s Spartan tournament Saturday, juniors Zack Elowitch of Portland, Dawson Allen of Camden Hills and Dylan Strong of Marshwood were among those who earned the dividends of their hard work.

Elowitch controlled his 152-pound championship match throughout and finished it with a pin at 5:23 against Dylan Hughes of Timberlane, New Hampshire. Elowitch, a regional champ as a freshman, had never won a major invitational.

“Offseason wrestling, working hard every day in practice, just improving each and every day,” Elowitch said. “It’s tough, especially those long practices, but you just have to know what you’re working for and keep with it.”

Dawson worked a second-period reversal into a pin against York’s Josh Mackaman to win the 120-pound division.

“It takes a lot of dedication. I won my 100th match (last Saturday) at Noble, which was pretty cool, and I came back this week and just got it done,” Dawson said.

Strong, coming off a sixth-place finish at the Lowell Holiday tournament, took the 170-pound division with a 7-1 win against Timberlane’s Brandon Berube.

“I think it’s like the first two years, you come in and you’re wrestling upperclassmen, you’re not as confident, and this year I just feel that I’m way more confident,” Strong said. “It is about the work. You really don’t want to spend your whole summer going all over wrestling, but it does pay off. You start winning more tournaments instead of taking third or fourth.”

The Spartan tournament usually boasts the deepest field during the Maine wrestling season. Thursday’s snowstorm diluted this year’s field, as strong out-of-state programs from Connecticut (Danbury and Xavier) and Rhode Island (North Providence and Cumberland) were unable to make their annual trek north.

But Timberlane, a New Hampshire power, still created a Maine vs. New England feel with 12 finalists in 11 weight classes. In the 132-pound final, Connor McGonagle pinned teammate Nick Pallaria.

Maine wrestlers won 5 of 10 finals against Timberlane opponents. Timberlane easily won the team title with 288 points, followed by Marshwood with 168.5. Massabesic (117) edged Camden Hills (112.5) for third place.

“How do you like this Maine vs. Timberlane battle we’ve got going on?” asked Sanford senior Sam Anderson after he beat Timberlane’s Justin Berube in the 160-pound final.

Anderson, a defending state champion, placed third, fourth and second as this meet in previous years. The last Sanford wrestler to finish first at the Spartan was Chad Edwards in 2002.

“It’s always been a goal of mine, because it’s a hard tournament and it had been a long time since a Sanford kid won here, and I wanted to be the kid that changed that,” Anderson said.

Bonny Eagle freshman Colby Frost set the tone for tough battles in the final with his win at 106 pounds. Trailing 14-6 in the third period to Timberlane junior Nick Roeger, Frost slapped the mat with both hands at a stoppage.

“Very much frustrated because I knew I could beat him, but I wasn’t wrestling like I was supposed to,” Frost said. “I was wrestling defensively when I should be attacking.”

With Frost on the bottom, Roeger conceded an escape, a tactic he had used previously. This time the decision backfired. Frost attacked, wrapped up Roeger, threw him and quickly finished the pin. Frost was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

Marshwood freshman Sean Moriarty followed by winning the 113-pound championship, beating Timberlane’s John Leavitt in overtime, 7-5.

Other Maine wrestlers to win weight classes were Marshwood senior James Thompson (195) and Sanford junior Sol Demers (220).

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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